Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Investments to Promote Business Development, Improve Medical Services and Create Jobs in Ten States | USDA Newsroom
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Release No. 0036.12
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USDA Office of Communications (202) 720-4623

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Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces Investments to Promote Business Development, Improve Medical Services and Create Jobs in Ten States

WASHINGTON – Jan. 31, 2012 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that loans and grants will be provided to applicants in ten states to support businesses, improve the quality of medical care, and create or save hundreds of jobs. Funding is provided through USDA's Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program. The announcement was made on the Secretary's behalf by Under Secretary for Rural Development Dallas Tonsager during a meeting in Bladenboro, North Carolina.

"During his State of the Union address last week, President Obama laid out a blueprint for an economy that's built to last – an economy built on American energy, skills for American workers, and a renewal of American values," said Vilsack. "The funding announced today will help support the President's vision by providing our rural communities with resources to support small businesses, improve public facilities, and create new, sustainable jobs.

In North Carolina, Four County Electric Membership Corporation in Burgaw, N.C., was selected to receive a grant to establish a revolving loan fund. Funds will provide financing for the Bladen Healthcare, LLC to purchase medical equipment for a new health clinic that will be located in Bladenboro. This project will create and retain 20 jobs.

Also in North Carolina, Lumbee River Electric Membership Corporation in Red Springs was selected to receive a grant to provide financing to the Robeson County Government to help make required improvements to the county detention center. These upgrades will create new jobs during the construction period and will help retain 139 jobs.

Funding of each recipient is contingent upon the recipient meeting the conditions for the grant or loan. The following is a complete list of recipients announced today.

Alabama

  • Clarke Washington EMC, Jackson, $300,000 grant; CT Scanner

Illinois

  • M.J.M. Electric Cooperative, Inc.; $740,000 loan; Construction of a new implement dealership.

Iowa

  • City of Pocahontas; $300,000 grant; Hospital expansion and renovation.
  • Heartland Power Cooperative; $250,000 loan; Construction of a community-owned hotel.
  • Independence Light and Power; $707,750 loan; Expansion of a milk processing plant.

Indiana

  • Northeastern REMC; $320,000 loan; Purchase a vacant manufacturing building in Columbia City.

Kansas

  • Caney Valley Electric Coop Assn.; $740,000 loan; Expansion of a farm equipment dealership in Winfield.

Mississippi

  • South Mississippi Electric Power Assn.; $740,000 loan; Construct an industrial building in Greenwood.
  • Singing River Electric Power Assn.; $740,000 loan; Barge bulkhead and rail spur construction in Moss Point.

Missouri

  • Webster Electric Cooperative; $740,000 loan; Purchase and renovation of a manufacturing facility in Marshfield, Mo.

Nebraska

  • Benkelman Telephone Co.; $129,000 loan; Business transition of a flour mill in Wauneta.

North Carolina

  • Lumbee River Electric Membership Corp.; $250,000 grant; Improvements to the Robeson County Detention Center and establishment of a revolving loan fund.
  • Four County Electric Membership Corp.; $300,000 grant; Purchase of medical equipment for a new health clinic and establishment of a revolving loan fund.

Tennessee

  • Lawrenceburg Utility Systems; $260,000 loan; Expansion of a metal fabrication firm.

Since taking office, the Obama administration has taken historic steps to improve the lives of rural Americans, put people back to work and build thriving economies in rural communities. From proposing the American Jobs Act to establishing the first-ever White House Rural Council – chaired by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack – the President wants the federal government to be the best possible partner for rural businesses and entrepreneurs creating job opportunities and for people who want to live, work, and raise their families in rural communities. Investments that the Obama Administration has made in rural America include:

  • Provided grants and loans to assist over 50,000 rural small and mid-sized businesses in creating or saving 266,000 jobs.
  • Invested in over 6,250 community facilities projects, reaching nearly 29 million rural Americans, including 736 education facilities, 433 libraries, 581 health care facilities, and 2,800 public safety facilities.
  • Helped 456,000 rural families in more than 21,000 communities buy or refinance a home.
  • Invested in new and improved broadband service for nearly seven million rural residents, and 364,000 rural businesses, saving or creating over 25,000 jobs.
  • Helped improve and modernize rural electric infrastructure for over 25 million rural residents and businesses with more than 80,000 miles of upgraded and new electric lines.
  • Invested in 5,100 water and waste water community infrastructure projects to help safeguard the health of 18 million rural residents and create or save 135,000 jobs.
  • Helped lead an effort to promote the domestic production and use of advanced biofuels with the potential to create hundreds of thousands of jobs in rural communities. Invested in research, supported farmers growing bioenergy feedstocks, and helped support more than 230 bioenergy projects, including construction of 5 biorefineries to produce fuels.
  • Helped approximately 25,000 rural small businesses, farmers, and ranchers, save energy and improve their bottom line by installing renewable energy systems and energy efficiency solutions that will save a projected 6.5 billion in kWh – enough energy to power 590,000 American homes for a year.

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of state and local offices. Rural Development has an active portfolio of more than $155 billion in affordable loans and loan guarantees. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America.

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